PARIS — SAD 17 Assistant Superintendent Patrick Hartnett says staffing trends show an older workforce continues to play a significant role in teacher vacancies in schools across the state.

Roughly one-quarter of the district’s teaching vacancies are because of retirements, Hartnett said. 

He reported to the SAD 17 board of directors earlier this month that early staffing trends for the 2018-19 school year showed a total of 34 vacancies that needed to be filled. 

Hartnett told the board the number represents “change” in about 11 percent of the teaching staff.

Hartnett said nine vacancies were created because of non-renewals or dismissals; eight were retirements; six were because of geography or family issues; five teachers sought different positions; four were because of advancements within the system and two teachers decided to change their careers.

In 2014, Hartnett reported to the board that about 8 percent of teaching positions would turn over, about the same percentage as in 2013.

The reasons for the teacher vacancies five years ago were the same as today: an older workforce that is beginning to retire; a young group of teachers that tends to move more; a few probationary staffers who were not considered a good fit for the district’s needs; and fewer college graduates entering the teaching profession.

It is still the summer and the vacancy list is considered “volatile,” Hartnett said. Teachers will continue to be hired and more may leave by the time school starts later next month, but Hartnett said he expects the turnover will be comparable to other years.

“It is not uncommon to have 7 to 8 percent turnover,” he said.

The challenge to fill positions with new graduates is the same for school districts  statewide as the older workforce retires.

“It does appear that there are fewer graduates from typical teacher prep programs such as (the University of Maine at Farmington),” he said. “I would also say that there is a teacher shortage in Maine. We have been fortunate to have quality candidates, but the quantity for many positions is not what it was even five years ago.”

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Assistant Superintendent Patrick Hartnett provides a teacher staffing update to the SAD 17 board of directors July 16.

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